Level of Concern

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"Level of Concern"
Twenty One Pilots - Level of Concern.png
Single by Twenty One Pilots
ReleasedApril 9, 2020 (2020-04-09)
Format
Recorded2020
Genre
Length3:40
LabelFueled by Ramen
Songwriter(s)Tyler Joseph
Producer(s)
Twenty One Pilots singles chronology
"The Hype"
(2019)
"Level of Concern"
(2020)
Audio sample
Music video
"Level of Concern" on YouTube

"Level of Concern" is a song written and recorded by American musical duo Twenty One Pilots. It was released as a standalone single on April 9, 2020, through Fueled by Ramen.[1] It is a dance-pop, pop rock and dance-rock song produced by lead singer Tyler Joseph alongside Paul Meany of alternative rock band Mutemath, and its lyrics revolve around the COVID-19 pandemic during which it was written and recorded. The song encourages hope during challenging times, while also addressing the widespread fear and panic associated with the pandemic. A portion of the song's proceeds are being donated to the charity Crew Nation, a global relief fund made by Live Nation for touring and venue personnel made redundant due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A music video for the track was uploaded upon the single's release. On May 29, 2020, an official lyric video for the song was released through the official Twenty One Pilots YouTube channel.[2]

Background and recording[edit]

At the beginning of March 2020, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States stood at 70, but by the following month it had grown by hundreds of thousands with an increasing death rate, resulting in the closure of schools and the banning of large gatherings. Social distancing measures, such as staying home as much as possible, had been widely recommended, and gatherings of over 10 people had been discouraged.[3][4] Twenty One Pilots wrote and recorded "Level of Concern", their first new music released since their album Trench (2018), in self-isolation during the pandemic.[5]

"Level of Concern" was written by lead singer Tyler Joseph, who produced it alongside Paul Meany of the alternative rock band Mutemath.[6] The two had previously collaborated in this capacity on the band's previous album Trench,[7] but the song is a departure from the conceptual nature of that record as well as its predecessor Blurryface (2015).[8] On April 6, Joseph disclosed on Twitter that it was the first song he had written on an electric guitar, although he needed "a few days to finish it up". He added that he would send his bandmate Josh Dun the files for the song.[9] The song was released as a standalone single three days later.[10][8] A portion of the revenue generated by the single is to be donated to the charity Crew Nation, a global relief fund made by Live Nation for touring and venue personnel made redundant due to the pandemic.[11]

Composition[edit]

"Level of Concern" was defined as dance-pop, pop rock and dance-rock song with elements of funk, pop and soft rock that lasts for a duration of three minutes and forty seconds.[12][13][14][15][16] According to the sheet music published at Musicnotes.com by Alfred Music, it is written in the time signature of common time, with a moderately fast tempo of 122 beats per minute.[15] "Level of Concern" is composed in the key of E minor, while Tyler Joseph's vocal range spans two octaves, from the low-note of D4 to the high-note of D6.[15] The song has a basic sequence of Cmaj7–Bm7–Am7 in the introduction and verses, alternates between the chords of Cmaj7 and Am7 during the pre-chorus, and follows Em–C–Am–G–D at the refrain, bridge and outro as its chord progression.[15]

The musical arrangement has an "upbeat groove" built around a "shimmering disco-esque guitar" before a beat played by Dun is added.[11] Entertainment Weekly's Omar Sanchez compared its groove to the band's single "Ride",[17] while Billboard journalist Chris Payne opined that the beat had "strong "Walking on a Dream" vibes," and also dubbed the single a "hashtag-2020 song" due its frequent references to the coronavirus pandemic.[18] The lyrics focus on finding hope and optimism in difficult times, with Joseph describing it as "simple but hopeful," but are "still earnest and honest about the chaos everywhere".[10][11] Chris Willman of Variety considered that the upbeat instrumental assuages the "anxiety" found in the lyrics, which also discuss "finding the right bunker-mate" with lines such as "would you be my little quarantine".[12][10]

Critical reception[edit]

Chris Payne of Billboard described "Level of Concern" as a "bop" with a "nimble" chorus,[18] while Caryn Ganz called it "a delicious bit of '80s pop-funk that revels in its simplicity" in her assessment for The New York Times.[19] Variety's Chris Willman found that, rather than being a "quick novelty knock-off" about quarantining, the track sounded "fully produced".[12] Jason Lipshutz, also of Billboard, claimed that the track is "the first true anthem of the coronavirus age", and speculated that it could become a commercial success due to it having a more radio-friendly style than Trench, as well as "words that anyone could relate to at this moment".[13] Similarly, Entertainment Weekly's Omar Sanchez dubbed it "the first quarantine anthem".[17]

Commercial performance[edit]

Despite not registering a full week of tracking activity, "Level of Concern" debuted at number three on the Bubbling Under Hot 100 chart (an extension of the Billboard Hot 100), number two on the Hot Rock Songs chart and number nineteen on the Alternative Songs chart in the United States with 7,000 digital sales.[20] In its first full week of tracking, the track entered the Billboard Hot 100 at number twenty-three with 10.6 million streams and 12,000 downloads, making it their second-highest debut on that chart, and unseated Panic! at the Disco's "High Hopes" from the top of the Hot Rock Songs chart, becoming the first song at number one on the chart not by Panic! at the Disco since November 2018.[21] It is also their seventh number-one hit on the Alternative Songs chart, making them the seventh band with the most number-one hits on the chart.[22]

Music video[edit]

The music video for "Level of Concern" was shared upon the song's release on April 9, 2020, and was directed by frequent collaborator Reel Bear Media.[12] It features additional appearances from Joseph's wife Jenna, their daughter Rosie, and Dun's wife[23] Debby Ryan. It loosely documents the creation of the song and video as Joseph and Dun individually record and film their parts, uploading the audio and video onto a USB flash drive and sending it via snail-mail (although it is revealed that the two are living next door to each other at the end of the video). This is cut between clips of Joseph and Dun spending time with their respective partners and decorating their houses with flashing lights and fluorescent stars.[11][12][24][25][26] As of June 8, 2020, the video has received over 35 million views on YouTube.

LVLCNRN Alternate Reality Game (ARG)[edit]

On June 12, 2020, a subset of the official Twenty One Pilots website began to accept alphanumerical codes in a specific format: "LOC-XXX-XXX-XXXXY", with "X" being digits and "Y" being letters. These events followed a Tweet made on the official band account that included a code in the format reading, "LOC-061-220-2012P".[27] Fans determined that the code translated to the 12th of June, 2020, at 12 pm, which was when the YouTube livestream began and the website began to accept codes. The livestream, which streamed from the official band account and ultimately lasted 24 hours, included clues to codes, although later codes were more dependent on files that users unlocked and downloaded through the website using the previous codes. These file downloads included clues that became progressively more difficult to decipher, such as images, words and short videos. Through the images, fans were able to create an alphabet based on the symbols included, which ultimately led to the solutions of later downloads. Behind-the-scenes clips and pictures of the band were also included inside the files, which were titled "USB", followed with the number of the code that unlocked the file (i.e., USB20). Codes 1 to 20 have been found.[28] The final file download led users to a website that initially allowed them to input their name, mailing address, and Twitter handle, but then, as more responses were entered, eventually changed to show only a message of congratulations.

This lead to them releasing a neverending music video where fans could submit their short clips on the website. This started on their official YouTube channel on 22nd June 2020 as a stream.

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from Tidal.[6]

Charts[edit]

Chart (2020) Peak
position
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[29] 42
Belgium (Ultratip Flanders)[30] 13
Belgium (Ultratip Wallonia)[31] 2
Canada CHR/Top 40 (Billboard)[32] 39
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[33] 53
Canada Rock (Billboard)[34] 16
CIS (Tophit)[35] 138
Croatia (HRT)[36] 46
Czech Republic (Singles Digitál Top 100)[37] 27
Estonia (Eesti Tipp-40)[38] 18
Greece (IFPI)[39] 58
Hungary (Single Top 40)[40] 20
Hungary (Stream Top 40)[41] 18
Ireland (IRMA)[42] 29
Latvia (Latvijas Top 40)[43] 10
Lithuania (AGATA)[44] 27
Mexico Ingles Airplay (Billboard)[45] 2
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[46] 24
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[47] 63
New Zealand Hot Singles (RMNZ)[48] 2
Portugal (AFP)[49] 95
Scotland (Official Charts Company)[50] 48
Slovakia (Rádio Top 100)[51] 94
Slovakia (Singles Digitál Top 100)[52] 39
Sweden Heatseeker (Sverigetopplistan)[53] 2
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[54] 85
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[55] 42
US Billboard Hot 100[56] 23
US Adult Alternative Songs (Billboard)[57] 36
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)[58] 29
US Adult Top 40 (Billboard)[59] 11
US Hot Rock Songs (Billboard)[60] 1
US Rock Airplay (Billboard)[61] 1
US Mainstream Top 40 (Billboard)[62] 23
US Rolling Stone Top 100[63] 12
Venezuela Anglo (Record Report)[64] 7
Venezuela Pop (Record Report)[65] 20

Certifications[edit]

Certifications and sales for "Level of Concern"
Region Certification Certified units/sales
Brazil (Pro-Música Brasil)[66] 1× Gold 20,000double-dagger

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
double-daggersales+streaming figures based on certification alone

References[edit]

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  2. ^ "twenty one pilots - Level of Concern (lyric video)". Retrieved May 31, 2020.
  3. ^ "Coronavirus in the U.S.: Latest Map and Case Count". The New York Times. Archived from the original on April 10, 2020. Retrieved April 10, 2020.
  4. ^ Renken, Elena; Wood, Daniel. "Map: Tracking The Spread Of The Coronavirus In The U.S." NPR. Archived from the original on April 10, 2020. Retrieved April 10, 2020.
  5. ^ Young, Alex (April 9, 2020). "Twenty One Pilots Reveal New Single "Level of Concern": Stream". Consequence of Sound. Archived from the original on April 10, 2020. Retrieved April 10, 2020.
  6. ^ a b "Credits / Level of Concern / twenty one pilots". Tidal. Retrieved April 10, 2020.
  7. ^ Weingarten, Christopher R. (October 5, 2018). "Review: Twenty One Pilots Still Stressed, More Cohesive on 'Trench'". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on October 6, 2018. Retrieved April 14, 2020.
  8. ^ a b "twenty one pilots Have Dropped a Brand-New Song, Level of Concern". Kerrang!. April 9, 2020. Archived from the original on April 10, 2020. Retrieved April 10, 2020.
  9. ^ Moore, Sam (April 6, 2020). "Twenty One Pilots have a new song on the way, according to Tyler Joseph". NME. Archived from the original on April 10, 2020. Retrieved April 10, 2020.
  10. ^ a b c Reilly, Nick (April 9, 2020). "Listen to Twenty One Pilots encourage hope on new track 'Level of Concern'". NME. Archived from the original on April 10, 2020. Retrieved April 10, 2020.
  11. ^ a b c d Blistein, Jon (April 9, 2020). "Twenty One Pilots Dance Toward Hope on 'Level of Concern'". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on April 10, 2020. Retrieved April 10, 2020.
  12. ^ a b c d e Willman, Chris (April 9, 2020). "Twenty One Pilots Offer a Danceable Quarantine Anthem with 'Level of Concern' (Watch)". Variety. Archived from the original on April 10, 2020. Retrieved April 10, 2020.
  13. ^ a b Lipshutz, Jason (April 10, 2020). "First Stream: New Music From Twenty One Pilots, The Strokes, Selena Gomez & More". Billboard. Archived from the original on April 10, 2020. Retrieved April 10, 2020.
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  16. ^ Johnson, Laura. "Twenty One Pilots Drop New Track Level Of Concern - Stereoboard". Stereoboard.com. Retrieved 2020-05-11.
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  21. ^ "Twenty One Pilots' 'Level of Concern' Dethrones This Band From Hot Rock Songs No. 1 for First Time Since 2018". April 20, 2020. Retrieved April 20, 2020.
  22. ^ Ruterhford, Kevin (May 5, 2020). "Twenty One Pilots' Latest Has Already Reached the Top 'Level' on Alternative Songs Chart". Billboard. Retrieved 11 May 2020.
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  36. ^ "Croatia ARC TOP 100". HRT. Retrieved May 19, 2020.
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  46. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 23, 2020" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40 Retrieved June 5, 2020.
  47. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Twenty One Pilots – Level of Concern" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved May 29, 2020.
  48. ^ "NZ Hot Singles Chart". Recorded Music NZ. April 20, 2020. Retrieved April 18, 2020.
  49. ^ "Portuguesecharts.com – Twenty One Pilots – Level of Concern". AFP Top 100 Singles. Retrieved April 23, 2020.
  50. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved April 18, 2020.
  51. ^ "ČNS IFPI" (in Slovak). Hitparáda – Radio Top 100 Oficiálna. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: insert 202021 into search. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  52. ^ "ČNS IFPI" (in Slovak). Hitparáda – Singles Digital Top 100 Oficiálna. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: Select SINGLES DIGITAL - TOP 100 and insert 202016 into search. Retrieved April 21, 2020.
  53. ^ "Veckolista Heatseeker, vecka 16". Sverigetopplistan. Retrieved April 17, 2020.
  54. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Twenty One Pilots – Level of Concern". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved April 20, 2020.
  55. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved April 18, 2020.
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  63. ^ "Top 100 Songs". Rolling Stone. April 10, 2020. Retrieved May 12, 2020.
  64. ^ "Anglo" (in Spanish). Record Report. May 25, 2020. Retrieved May 23, 2020.
  65. ^ "Pop" (in Spanish). Record Report. May 25, 2020. Archived from the original on June 29, 2012. Retrieved May 23, 2020.
  66. ^ "Brazilian single certifications – Twenty One Pilots – Level of Concern" (in Portuguese). Associação Brasileira dos Produtores de Discos. Retrieved 27 June 2020.

External links[edit]